Christ is Risen! Now What?


For me, the day after Easter is a lot like the day after Christmas, lots to clean up.  Our modern culture tends to treat these big holidays as one-day events and once it is over we move on to the next thing.  This year was especially difficult for Orthodox Christians as our Easter came a week after the rest of the world.  One good point, however, we got the candy on sale while the rest of you had to pay full price!

The challenge is how do we keep the spirit of the risen Christ alive during the Easter Season, which ends with the Ascension, and further, how do we keep it alive all year long?  Our Church, like most, was somewhat empty the Sunday after Easter.  Those who come for Easter have all gone back to the more important things in their lives, and the “regulars” remain in the Church.  It sort of feels like what it must have been like for the Apostles after the Crucifixion.  One day there were crowds of people shouting Hosanna and the next it was just the eleven, and some other, hiding in fear in the Upper Room.

So now that we have sung Christ is Risen.  Now that we have picked up our Red Egg and lit our candle for another year, what do we do?  I am not sure I have an answer to that question.

I do know that we have to keep that candle lit for the next 365 days; the world needs the light and we need to be the ones who bring it.  On the eve of Easter, at our big service, I like to remind the assembled crowd that we are not just holding candles in our hands, but we are bringing the light out into the world.  I emerge from the darkness, symbolizing the tomb and bring a single light, symbolizing Jesus, out into the crowd and call out, “come receive the light from the unwaning light!”  The light that never goes out, unless we blow it out!

It is my firm belief that the Church in the book of Acts was the glorious Church. As long as they were renegades and persecuted they were doing great things. Once the church turned from being persecuted the church became the persecutors! We need that Church of Acts back!  The Church has become comfortable and with that comes the belief that we do not need to bring the light out into the world because someone else will do it.  Or we say, “if I bring the light someone will criticize me for being a Christian?”  Perhaps we really do not wish to live lives as Christians and if we bring the light out we will be branded as hypocrites, and I believe that most of the “so-called” Christians in this world are just that hypocrites!

Sorry for being harsh but one cannot call themselves a Christian is the only time they darken the door of a Church is at Christmas and Easter!  Every one of us who calls Jesus Lord (and if you claim to be a Christians then you have too) had better be prepared to die for Jesus, be arrested for Jesus, and, yes, even live for Jesus.  We have lost the meaning of “church” as the body of Christ, the people, and now think of it as a stationary building that we visit like it is some museum.  The Church needs to recapture the spirit of the Church of Acts when it was running for its life, and changing lives!

During the season of Easter, we are reading from the Books of Acts.  Acts is a great book that is a blueprint if you will, for the early Church and how it functioned.  I reminded my congregation recently that it is the books of Acts, or actions, not the book of sitting around waiting for something to happen!  It is time for the Church to get up off its collective backside and get to work!

If we are going to say “Jesus is Lord” then we have to be all-in.  It will require a whole-life commitment to follow Jesus in an alternative, sacrificial, yes we have to be willing to sacrifice,  way of life, fully pledging one’s allegiance to the rebel Jesus in faithfully serving the renegade gospel.

How do we keep the spirit of Easter alive all year long?  We keep it alive by not letting the light go out!  We keep it alive by a daily rededication to following the rebel Jesus and living his will and not ours.  We keep it alive by not aligning ourselves as red or blue, conservative or liberal but as Christ followers and living the Gospel and taking the risk required.  That is how!

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